Can addiction be good?
Basically, addiction (when left untreated) manifests as negative life consequences. How does addiction negatively affect your life? We explore here. And then we invite your questions or comments at the end.
A basic definition of addiction
In modern culture, people throw the world addiction around rather casually. It is not uncommon to hear someone say, “I am addicted to coffee”, or “I am addicted to running”. Over time, this can confuse the definition of addiction.
Because of its use in popular culture, many people confuse addiction with dependence. The two are similar but there is a difference. Dependence tends to focus on physical symptoms associated with withdrawal. There are plenty of people who have a dependence on caffeine. These people feel tired or unfocused without it. They do not however, develop a full blown addiction. They simply live with the mild symptoms of caffeine dependence.
While people may enjoy or even feel a need to do certain things, this need only becomes a true addiction when it has negative consequences and becomes physically or psychologically habit forming. That means addiction will probably never be a good thing. This is because a true addiction will almost certainly have negative consequences.
The consequences of addiction
Usually consequences of addiction fall in to one of three categories: relationships, money, and health.
1. Addiction affects relationships
The first is relationships. Addictions will almost always effect relationships. People who are addicted will place their addiction above friends and family. This means they are often isolated. Not only is isolation a negative consequence of addiction, it is also one reason addiction is so hard to treat. People who become addicted often push people away. By the time they realise they need help, there may be no one there willing to offer it.
2. Addiction affects finances
The second effect of addiction is monetary. Addiction tends to cost time and money. Even cheap addictions will add up over time and when someone is constantly focused on feeding their addiction, they are less apt to hold down a job. Peoples professional relationships also suffer making it harder for them to continue in their chosen profession.
3. Addiction affects health
The final effect of addiction is health. Weather it is heroin, online gaming or running, a true addiction will most likely have negative health effects. This is because doing anything, even something considered healthy, too often will have negative consequences. The best example of this is breathing. Everyone needs to breath, but if you breath too fast it is called hyperventilating and you will pass out.
Addiction is usually NOT good
Simply put, an addiction is something that takes over your life. It becomes a seemingly irresistible and permanent urge to use alcohol or drugs in order to cope with psycho-emotional issues. Understanding that addiction is defined as having negative consequences, at least in many treatment circles, makes it easy to understand why there are no good addictions.
But what do you think? We invite your comments and feedback here.
Photo credit: Gwen Meharg